Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Tuesday 8 July 2008 - An Italian Border Route (IBR) - Day 14 - In View of Monte Viso

Campsite near Passo di Sometta

Plan: Rif Malinvern to Passo di Sometta - 17 km, 1500 metres ascent, 7.5 hours

Actual: Route almost as planned to a wild camp 500 metres east of Passo di Sometta at 2150 metres, but looping into France via the Lausfer Lakes rather than descending to Sant' Anna di Vinadio:
17 km, 1500 metres ascent, 9.3 hours including 1.5 hours breaks and 0.5 hour diversion.

Best bit: All of it, capped by an idyllic camp site.

Where do I start?

Michael Roberts would have woven an inspirational poem after a day like today.

Jim Perrin would compose an evocative essay with no dark side to it.

All I can manage is this postcard....oh to have some literary skills. I need Mark Alvarez or Daryl May here to help me!

The crescent moon set early, leaving the milky way to beam down in its faint sort of way on Malinvern Rifugio and its 15 occupants.

We slept long and deep.

Only the two of us had ordered breakfast for 7am, unlike our previous sojourns in huts when the entire assembly had started then. But today our companions were mainly Dutch and Italian, not Germans as before.

We started in our normal, for the time being, westerly direction. That meant only half an hour before the sun was on our backs. But it was a pleasant temperature and a finely graded path with the usual plethora of flowers that saw us up the 800 metre climb, under a clear blue sky, to Passo d'Orgials, at 2600 metres just under our high point to date. So we nipped up the adjacent peak to bag both that and our new high point.

A photo from there, unfortunately for technical reasons taken into the sun, should by some miracle of technology (and a degree of patience on my part) have found its way onto these pages within minutes of being taken. [Summer in the Alps]

After an easy descent we had our first encounter of the day - a lone hiker, probably German, travelling in the opposite direction to us. He was worried about the snow on Colletto di Valscura, where we had been yesterday. When we parted company he was a much happier and reassured man.

Usually the afternoon brings a degree of cloud cover. Today - nothing. This was particularly gratifying as the giant cone of Monte Viso came into view and remained there until we descended to camp, concealing our far horizon. At nearly 3900 metres Monte Viso towers above its near neighbours and draws the eye as it pokes incongruously above all else on the horizon.

There is an excellent circular walk from Sant' Anna di Vinadio to the Lausfer Lakes. We trod most of it, observing a couple of sunbathing ibex along with many day walkers. Seeing some parents being ambushed by snowball happy children, we gathered our own ammunition and lobbed the deviant miscreants as they passed. 'Merci' exclaimed the delighted parents.

Our good deed for the day done, we tried to locate the dotted red (on our map) short cut path to Passo di Sometta. It looked dubious and took us away from obvious places to camp, so we retraced and continued along the excellent path to Passo Tesina and descended by little used path P19 to this excellent camping spot. I think it is where I had intended to stop anyway.

We are by a small lake with various streams draining into it. There is nobody around, nor likely to be - we are off the beaten track again. That means skinny dipping for Sue. The water's cold but she enjoys it.

Then we settle down to a truly gourmet dinner of delicious 'Marocaine' soup, tuna and artichoke hors d'oevres, and tortellini with proscuito crudo. All washed down with Yorkshire tea.

It just can't get better than this!

That means a 6 week anti-climax. Oh dear, should we come home now!?

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